Glorious Autumn Block Party and Super Deals for Quilters

Hi everyone, welcome to Block 20 of our Glorious Autumn Block Party. Today, we have Caren Rich as our featured designer.

Visit the Block Party Headquarters for more info and upload your completed blocks to the Flickr group.

Featured Designer: Caren Rich

Caren Rich

How/when/why did you transition from a quilter to a designer?

After college, my grandmother Dora Lee taught me how to quilt. I had watched her make quilts growing up and I wanted to learn. My goal was to make a crazy quilt. She helped me pick out the pattern and walked me through how she quilted. The result was “Family Fans”.

1st quilt

It took an entire year to hand quilt those large blank squares with a fan motif. Each smaller square has a flower motif. The next year I took a beginner’s quilt class and found out I was doing it all wrong! It also led me to but my first sewing machine. A very basic machine that took a lot of beating. It still works, but I have moved on to a better machine!

How/when/why did you transition from a quilter to a designer?

Early on, I started making my own patterns. My first was a quilt based on my hometown of Satsuma. I took photos of local landmarks, printed them on paper and then created pieced patterns from the photos. Smaller “designer” blocks were used to fill in space between my blocks. It’s not perfect but it is still one of my favorite quilts. Later, I fell in love with art quilts. That pushed me to design my own patterns, most of which are fused, and I do not use traditional blocks as much.

Last year I took the $1000 pledge for AAQI (The Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative Raising Awareness & Funding Research Through Art). When making those quilts they must be an original design or a non-copyrighted (traditional) pattern. That has really pushed me to make original patterns on a regular basis. I enjoy the creative process and the freedom allowed when creating my own pattern.

Which quilt is your favourite? Did you design it? Why is it your favourite?

Whichever quilt I am working on at the time is my favorite. If I had to pick from all of them I have made. It would be “Grandma’s Sunburst”. My grandmother told me her favorite block was the log cabin, but she would never make one because of all the little pieces. That year for Christmas I made her a king sized log cabin quilt. I now have the quilt back; she died with Alzheimer’s last year. Every day I see it I think of the wonderful gift she gave me. I wish I had the magazine this pattern came from, but of course I don’t.

sunburst log cabin

How many UFOs do you currently have? One bed size quilt I appliquéd before I learned how to appliqué. It will never be finished! I have two or three AAQI quilts that need to be finished and two quilt patterns I am working on, with hopes of publication.

What size of quilt do you prefer to make/design? I like small quilts. I’ve made dozens of bed quilts that were hand quilted. Now I mainly do machine quilting and there is no way I’m shoving a bed quilt under my machine. Small quilts give me ‘instant’ gratification. I can make a small wall hanging in a week or two, completely finished. AAQI quilts are all 9×12 or smaller. Small rocks!

What colour do you use most often in your quilts? My grandmother taught me every quilt must have red. So I have carried that with me as I make quilts. It may be just a speck, but there will be red. The most obvious color I use is blue. I live on the coast and am greatly inspired by the beach. Yellow is my favorite color, but it is the hardest to find!

Favourite one-sentence tip for a new quilter: Learn all the quilting rules first…then you can break them!

Favourite size and brand of rotary cutter: 45mm Fiskar

Favourite quote or mantra: Directions are more like suggestions! Even my patterns are just a starting point. Quilting is a creative endeavor, we should not limit ourselves to directions. If you have a pattern you like, but think adding an element to it. Go for it. The quilt police will not arrest you, unless you touch a quilt. But that’s another story.

Block Party #20 – Yikes!

Here’s Caren’s block, Yikes. Isn’t it cute! Head over to Caren’s blog to download the appliqué templates and for her tutorial and tips for putting together the spider.


See the previous 19 free blocks here!

Designer Give-Away

Caren is giving away a handmade seam ripper, made by her husband. The tip comes out and inserts back into the opening to cover the point. This is a $35 value. Visit Caren’s blog to enter the give-away.


Glorious Autumn Block Party – Caren Rich

One thought on “Glorious Autumn Block Party – Caren Rich

  • October 22, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I am really loving these blocks… All of them!!!! But so far I have not been able to access the Block Party block #20 Flicker… I am not real computer savey? and I have tried every way I know how to get to the tutorial and to print….
    Can anyone help me????
    Thank you no matter what!
    Bobbi K

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